Sunday, September 12, 2010

Newsweek Looks At Daniels Presidential Bid

Newsweek's Andrew Romano takes a closer look at a potential presidential bid by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in the struggling magazine's latest edition. The article is entitled the "Responsible Rider" in reference to his passion for riding his Harley Davidson motorcyle. Romano's take on Daniels is generally favorable, but it also takes a few digs at him that will please his critics. "Ever since telling The Washington Post in February that he 'would stay open to the idea' of challenging Barack Obama in 2012, he has had to insist, often several times a day, that he doesn’t actually intend to run," Romano observes. "His ambivalence seems genuine. 'You’ve seen my schedule,' he tells me later, in his broad Midwestern drawl,' Daniels told Romano. “I’m not going to Iowa; I’m not going to New Hampshire. I’m turning down every offer.”

Romano, of course, is quick to remind his readers why he visited Indiana this summer to take a closer look at Daniels if you have any doubts about his interest in running for president. "The governor’s press office had invited me on a daylong trip that was clearly designed to highlight the most flattering aspects of Daniels’s record," Romano writes. "Even through the promotional haze, I saw something valuable in the governor’s approach to politics. His brand of reality-based conservatism might not propel him to the presidency in 2012. But eventually it could provide the GOP with something it desperately needs (and currently lacks): a convincing model of post-Reagan, post-Dubya, post-Obama governance."

Romano has many positive things to say about Daniels like referring to his "record of competence and fiscal restraint" and how that represents "a refreshing change of pace from George W. Bush’s big-government conservatism." He also takes the obligatory swipes at Daniels small stature and unattractive looks. "If you’ve heard anything about Indiana’s very slight, very balding, very unimposing governor—and that’s a big if—it’s probably just the opposite: that he couldn’t possibly win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and that even if he did, his chances of defeating Obama in the general election would be close to nil," Romano says of Daniels. He adds,  "At 5 feet 7 (in boots), Daniels is shorter than Obama’s 12-year-old daughter, Malia." "His rather uninspiring demeanor—reticent, stiff, and slightly skittish, with darting eyes and long blanks between words—better suits a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, which he happens to be, than a leader of the free world. And his comb-over is borderline delusional." Ouch.

Romano builds up Daniels' fiscal cred in his story for the most part. "Washington Republicans tend to talk about fiscal discipline when they’re out of power, then abandon it when they take over," Romano writes. "Daniels never stops pinching pennies. The political advantages of this approach are apparent the moment the governor strides into the Muncie convention center for a breakfast with local business leaders. Outside, it’s pouring rain; inside, the smiles couldn’t be sunnier." Romano doesn't fail to pick up, however, on Daniels greatest weaknesses on that front. "The governor’s corporate approach isn’t a cure-all," he says. "His 2007 decision to outsource the state’s welfare enrollment program to IBM for $1.3 billion and replace in-person facilities with call centers was a painful reminder of the limits of privatization; Hoosiers who missed welfare appointments because they were hospitalized with terminal cancer lost their Medicaid benefits. (To his credit, Daniels admitted his mistake, nixed the deal, and sued IBM.) Local reports allege that as many as 40 percent of the 100,000 new job commitments Daniels claims to have won since 2005 have yet to materialize, and at 10.2 percent, Indiana’s unemployment rate is still higher than the national average."

There's no mention of Daniels' drug-dealing days as a student back at Princeton. As I've written before, I think that will become Daniels Achilles' Heel in trying to win the Republican presidential nomination. Republicans don't overlook such transgressions as easily as Democrats do. While the media has largely overlooked his "youthful transgression" to date, I suspect his potential GOP opponents will not be as generous. Besides, the liberal news media wants to save that angle on Daniels for the general election if he makes it that far. I also think the fallout from the FSSA privatization deal has only just begun. I've tracked a number of hits on my previous post on that failed privatization deal to the Justice Department in Washington. Who knows what a good-ole fashion criminal investigation might turn up there.


I know said...

"I've tracked a number of hits on my previous post on that failed privatization deal to the Justice Department in Washington. Who knows what a good-ole fashion criminal investigation might turn up there."

If the Justice Department would just indulge themselves within the Indiana Gaming Commission and the state appointed officials that have been allowed to write their own contracts, create sweet heart multi million dollars deals among their fellow members of sub committees appointed by the State Legislature the Justice Department would have another good ole fashion criminal case as they did with the concrete fixing probe that sent people to prison.

Violations of criminal law and defaulting on two multi million dollars bonds certainly should also get the SEC involved. However, the AG, the IG and the Governor's Office don't want anyone from the Justice Department swimming around as they might find a gold nugget at the bottom of the pool.

The Governor needs to clean his house or the closets will be too full of skeletons!!!!

Bradley said...

I welcome the attention on Governor Daniels' record coming from national publications (even if they are currently, typically positive) - and I welcome his more official run for President starting next year. The microscope of more proper examination than our relatively paltry local newsmedia (although we mercifully have the blogs), we finally start seeing what many people have seen all along and what I have seen the last three years - that Governor Daniels is not the messiah of fiscal conservatism I once voted for in 2004, but is more aptly a fiscal fraud.

Luckily bloggers like you, Gary, and others, as well as blog submitters like "I know", keep mentioning problems - serious problems - within Daniels' administration. I have constantly mentioned the numerous problems with the Department of Workforce Development. I am not a lone nut dissenter or disgruntled employee, as I have essentially been called by the kiss-ups and some of the "Lead Team" there, but someone who wants to see the right change there to make sure the Daniels' DWD does not keep costing the department, the employees, the claimants, the state's employers, and the taxpayers money and further grief.

DWD did not have a good year last year, 2009: according to estimated figures recently released on the US Department of Labor's website, Indiana overpaid its unemployment claimants by $626.7 Million; of this amount, Indiana's DWD was completely or partially responsible for $497.8 Million in overpayments. The former amount is the most in the country and over $54 Million more than the next closest state, California. The latter amount was also the most in the country and over $357 million more than the next closest state, Louisiana (and $236 Million more than Indiana's total last year, which was also the worst).

Using DOL's figures from 2006 to 2009, Indiana overpaid unemployed claimants more than every state in the country except California and Illinois (Indiana's overpayment figure is $1.157 Billion). No other state's unemployment program in the country was responsible for more money lost to claimants (that should not have been paid) than Indiana's Workforce Development. DWD was responsible, wholly or partly, for over-paying claimants $860 Million during that time.

Keep in mind, Indiana currently owes the federal government over $1.781 Billion right now; also keep in mind businesses in Indiana will have to pay that amount back, and also are the ones who have paid for the $1.157 Billion in overpayments to claimants.

If anybody wants to know where to find this information, please leave a message and I will show you where to find it.

I haven't even really mentioned the two-fold increase in deputy commissioners and upper management at DWD, the loss (or forcing-out) of thousands of years of unemployment experience and knowledge, the common practice of breaking of state laws, the unnecessary increase of paper/printing/mailing costs caused by a modernized system that is not functioning correctly - and all of these things within the last 5 years.

Then there is the "modernized" unemployment system itself (contracted in 2005 to Stephen Hilbert's Haverstick Consulting, as Gary has mentioned before) that is now 2 years late in full implementation and untold millions of dollars over-budget. The system, save maybe the inept leadership of DWD, is the PRIMARY reason Indiana overpaid its claimants so much the last 4 years. If you all only knew the full extent of the $BILLIONS wasted at DWD alone, you would all fully understand that Mitch Daniels is anything but a fiscal conservative.

Marycatherine Barton said...

I think the media moguls want Daniels to be a contender.